Thomas Cook cancels trips to captive killer whale attractions

Thomas Cook to stop selling trips to Sea World over treatment of whales

Thomas Cook to stop selling trips to Sea World over treatment of whales

Thomas Cook is to stop selling trips to animal parks that keep killer whales in captivity, following, it said, customer feedback and evidence from animal welfare specialists.

Thomas Cook's new policy is a blow to SeaWorld, which has seen visitor numbers fall since the release of documentary, Blackfish, which chronicled the fate of Tilikum, a captive whale at SeaWorld's park in Orlando that was involved in the deaths of three people, including a veteran orca trainer.

Boss Peter Fankhauser said the decision to remove two attractions - SeaWorld and Loro Park - next summer was not one he took lightly.

But, he said: "I am clear about the kind of business that we want to be".

This momentous victory means that Thomas Cook has now become the world-leading travel provider for animal welfare that it had claimed to be, and if other travel providers hope to maintain a shred of credibility with animal-loving British holidaymakers, they must follow its lead and immediately announce that they, too, will end the financial lifeline they are giving these cruel marine parks. "And when so many of our customers are so clear in their view, I could not allow our business to ignore them".

"Today's announcement will see Thomas Cook remove two attractions which we now offer customers, both of which passed our audit process and made improvements to the way they treat animals", he added.

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"We have actively engaged with a range of animal welfare specialists in the last 18 months, and taken account of the scientific evidence they have provided", Fankhauser said.

"Millions of United Kingdom guests have visited our parks for fun, education and to help contribute to the protection of marine animals and their habitats", a SeaWorld spokesperson told Newsweek.

The number of visitors to SeaWorld Orlando has been decreasing over recent years, with 2017 having ten percent less visitors than in the year before.

The latest ban was announced on Sunday. A SeaWorld spokesperson at the time said: "The audit process is ongoing, and while we recognize that the Abta standards and auditing process is still in its infancy, we continue to work with Thomas Cook through the process".

Mr Fankhauser said: "We will work with both [theme parks] over the next 12 months to prepare for our exit".

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